You know many years ago I came to the understanding how music will help our brain understand and conceptualize the information that we learn and take in. If your child is struggling in learning new educational information and skills I highly recommend trying the implementation of music in the background. Classical music is best for the mind to work with as the brain can focus more keenly on the information being learned instead of trying to interpret words at the same time.
The article below goes into more depth on this subject.
“Did you know that listening to or singing along with music uses the same neural circuits as expressing speech? Music, the rhythm, the beat, the cadence, even the lyrics share neural circuits used for language. Therapists can use this ability to help a child who struggles with language and speech skills to communicate. Children with developmental disabilities or those who have autism and other obstacles many times struggle with communication and interpersonal skills. Just as music therapy helps with interpersonal interaction and emotions, it can also assist with communication skills.”
How do you tie your shoes? My parents taught me a little rhyme to help me remember:
“Over, under, around and through, make a bow and pull it through.”
Thinking about this now (without a visual), it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. What goes under? Make a bow? But, mom, that’s what I’m trying to learn!
A more traditional teaching method that seems to have lasted decades is the old bunny ear trick. But, this has its own set of assumptions and fine motor skill requirements.
Lucky for kids (and parents) these days, we can pull up YouTube videos for help, whatever the technique.
One mom’s method is taking the internet by storm, and parents of kids with autism are really jumping on board.
I tried this with my 11 yr old (who has autism) I’ve never been able to teach him. THIS WORKED!!!!!
Kirstin Johnson, the brains behind Unstoppable Mother shared her how-to video on Facebook in August 2016, with the caption “The EASIEST way to teach your kids to tie their shoes for back to school!!!!” It presently has over 8.7 million views.
One commenter summed up the benefits of this style perfectly, as some other commenters criticized Kirstin for the time it takes to execute.
I don’t think it’s as much about speed as it is about making it easier for kids who’s [sic] motor skills make the traditional way harder.
Lock Laces, the makers of an elastic shoelace alternative, explains the added challenge for children with autism when it comes to tying shoes:
Learning to tie shoelaces is difficult for all children, but it can be particularly challenging for kids with autism. Autistic children can suffer from fine motor skill impairments that make it physically difficult to tie their shoes and executive skill deficits that hinder their ability to memorize multi-step sequences.
I don’t know about you, but Kirstin’s video makes teaching this difficult skill look (dare I say it) easy. I can’t wait to give it a try with my 5-year-old.
I am sharing this mother’s story on benefits of using cultured foods to help her son’s autism. We have personally used kefir for a short time but then stop. This is worth looking at again!!
Her name was Mary and she changed my life the day I met her. It was the very beginning of my journey with cultured foods, and I was in hiding with my newfound knowledge. People didn’t understand what I was doing, and the thought of letting food ferment on your counter for days at a time . . . well, it sounded crazy to people and they let me know they thought I was nuts. So I decided I wasn’t going to tell anyone what I was doing. Nobody could have convinced me that these foods were bad. They had healed and made me well and I was so grateful. My own body had showed me the power of making probiotic foods and there was no turning back for me. But I didn’t like the ridicule, so I kept quiet until one day I met Mary. Our kids were in a drama class together, and I had brought some cultured vegetables and kefir with me to class. When she saw it, she asked me what it was, her eyes lit up, and I thought, “Oh no, here it comes.” But instead, she started sharing with me how these foods had changed her boys who were severely autistic. So miraculous was the change in her boys that I could hardly tell they had any tendency towards autism. They were bright and smart and I loved them. She shared with me her journey and how much these foods had helped her boys, along with exercise and therapy, and we became fast friends. Every week we would sit and talk about bacteria and all it could do. Mary was so smart and had such knowledge that I sucked it up like a sponge. I finally had a friend who understood my love for microbes and it felt like pure joy to me. These foods hadn’t just changed me and my family, they’d changed Mary’s family, too, and we were on to something. The stories she told me of her boys convinced me early on that I needed to learn as much as I could about these cultured foods. Mary gave me the courage I needed to spread the good news that cultured foods worked, and for that I will always be grateful. Her life experience with autism and cultured foods was a mighty thing to behold; and years later, research is catching up with what Mary knew for sure – probiotic foods work for autism.
The trial that was so successful, it failed
One study on autism that really made an impact on me was done by food microbiologist Glenn Gibson at the University of Reading. It is referred to by some people as “the trial that was so successful, it failed.” The study was done with 40 autistic children all between the ages of 4 and 13 years. Each child was randomly placed in one of two groups. For three weeks, one group was given a probiotic supplement with the species Lactobacillus plantarum, which is abundant in cultured vegetables. The other children were given a placebo. After three weeks, the researchers planned to switch what each group was receiving, supplement or placebo. However, the parents of the children taking the probiotic saw such positive results that they knew which group they were in and refused to switch to the placebo. They saw too many improvements in not only digestive health but also mental and behavioral health that they said it was heartbreaking to have to stop their child from taking the probiotic. The children were calmer and had a greater ability to listen and concentrate. The trial had such a large dropout rate that it was discontinued. 1
In another study, which was done on mice at the California Institute of Technology, researchers found that mothers who had an induced infection or inflammation during pregnancy had offspring with autism-like behaviors, such as social avoidance, anxiety, repetitive actions, and GI disorders. The researchers fed these mice Bacteroides fragilis, a bacterium that has been used as probiotic therapy in animals with GI disorders and is also found in a healthy human gut. The result? The behavior of the treated mice changed. They were more likely to interact with other mice, had reduced anxiety, and were less likely to become aggressive. 2
Different gut flora in autistic children
Kids with autism have bee found to have different gut flora.3 The pathogenic bacteria called “Clostridia,” as well as the lesser-known bacteria called Sutterrella was abundant in their guts. One study done by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Nisonger Center 2017 4 showed that restoring the gut flora with a mixture of healthy bacteria can help change GI disorders that often accompany autism, and there is also a huge brain-gut connection in which microbes play a big part. Not only does bacteria help us digest our meals properly, but as the microbes break down food, they release waste products that travel through our bloodstream to the brain and impact our mood by stimulating the vagus nerve which affects the brain. Many of the bacteria waste products are neurotransmitters that have the ability to influence our moods in both those with autism and those without it. Anxiety, depression, hostility, and improving problem solving can often be helped greatly by changing the bugs in our gut. Certain bacteria in the gut release serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), both of which can change the mood. I have witnessed this first hand.
Mary fed her boys tons of kefir and cultured vegetables and they got lots of exercise which helps your microbes, too. Those boys transformed, and not just a little; it turned their lives around. I have another story that a mom sent to me that I’d love to share with you. You can also find her story on my Lives Touched page.
Rebecca shares her story in her own words.
“Hi there, Donna! I bought milk kefir grains from you back in early 2014 after watching your moving testimonial video. My son, Hudson, was 4 years old at the time and had recently received a PDD-NOS diagnosis (which is a non-specific autism spectrum diagnosis) and I was desperately researching possible causes of this frustrating syndrome. He was always a sweet child but had chronic constipation, behavioral problems, and severe learning disabilities. When I started him on milk kefir, he was only able to label people and things when I pointed to them; that was the extent of his communication abilities. The first night after giving both of us kefir in the form of chocolate protein shakes, I put him in bed with me out of fear of the dreaded Herxheimer reaction. I had some mild reactions myself, but what was very scary for me was waking up to Hudson wheezing and sounding like he couldn’t get any air into his lungs. I jumped up, put on shoes and buckled him into his car seat and we took off for the ER at the children’s hospital. Midway there, I heard a little voice singing in the backseat . . . so I pulled over, peered back at him and he was just smiling back at me and singing. That was the only day that he had a scary reaction from the die-off, but it still sticks out in my memory because it showed me the battle that was happening in his body with the introduction of an army of good bacteria. Two weeks after that day, Hudson began speaking in full sentence . . . TWO WEEKS. I could not even believe what I was hearing! After that, I became a kefir prophet myself and my whole family started making and drinking kefir. Hudson is now almost 9 years old and is thriving! He is telling gross jokes and acting like a neuro-typical immature boy and I couldn’t be happier. In terms of his learning, he has become an avid reader and never wants us to tell him how to pronounce a difficult word . . . he tried for at least 5 minutes the other night to pronounce “unconscious” and finally allowed me to tell him, after which he repeated it incredulously and laughed hysterically. He is also a math machine and prides himself on already knowing many of his times tables. Physically speaking, we have gone from weekly enemas to address his once-chronic constipation to never needing them. We still need to get him tested for food sensitivities again, but I have let him try some foods that he was previously sensitive to and he doesn’t have as many problems as he did before.
In terms of my own kefir journey, I have not been as consistent with it, but I always notice marked improvement in my bowel habits, overall health, and my outlook on life when I’m having kefir at least every other day. I recently got a hypothyroid diagnosis, so I am taking the consistency with the kefir routine much more seriously now.
Something else that I have tried, without the advice of a doctor, just because I thought it was worth a shot, are kefir whey implant enemas. My thought stemmed from the idea of fecal transplants and the idea that if someone’s probiotic bacteria load has been ravaged by antibiotics, it will affect the entire digestive tract, not just the upper part. I don’t trust anyone enough to use their poo for that (nor would I trust the medical community to select someone suitable), so I thought of the kefir. I decided that milk solids would inflame the lower digestive system, but maybe whey would be OK? (I’m sure many people have decided I am cuckoo at this point in the story.) I started on myself first and tried one enema per week for about two months. After just two rounds, I noticed increases in energy, started feeling hungry in the morning for the first time ever, and started losing weight without even trying. I also noticed that my wedding ring got looser and my stomach stuck out less, which indicated that I was retaining less water and was, therefore, less bloated. The effect on my bowels has been astounding and has even had positive effects on my mood! My husband was so amazed by my experience that he tried it and it has cured his decades-long chronic indigestion and has allowed him to start eating certain foods he could not eat before without stomach pain and never-ending gas! There are still some foods he cannot tolerate, but the changes have been noticeable. My hope is, since these are living probiotic bacteria, that one day we won’t have to do the enemas anymore at all. For now, we are happy to do them once per week and it has almost become a competition to see whose body can produce the most happy growls and gurgles.
I hope you rest easy every night knowing that you have changed innumerable lives, many of which will never be able to thank you directly, face-to-face. Thank you for sharing your story with the world and choosing such a worthwhile vocation – to share your knowledge, experience, and life-saving probiotic cultures. Together, we can heal our sick, tired, and sad society . . . one kefir grain at a time!”
Definitely worth trying and seeing how much better you feel!! Share your experiences with cultured foods.
I had written this post 5 years ago and still today this is very informative suggestion for those who have children or loved ones with sensory issues.
Time sure does fly by fast. I wish now that I had paid more attention to the pamphlets and brochures given to me by the therapist and specialists. In some ways, though, I don’t think my son was ready for activities. Now that he seems to be understanding more of what I am trying to teach him – I revisited the pamphlets and I wanted to share some activities that might help your child as well.
One component of autism is sensory problems. If you are NOT familiar with this term let me explain – most of us can process lots of outside stimuli such as: the radio being on, fans, dryers, pots and pans clanging, vacuums, etc. etc., for a child with autism all of this “stimulation” is like running your fingers down a chalkboard. Their nervous system is not able to process and interpret the noise therefore they will retreat and find ways of calming their “nerves”, it is similar to information overload. If you have been around children with sensory problems you may know that some of thes calming behaviors they obtain are not acceptable or tolerable. A child with autism may run around in circles, flap their hands, lick the furniture or other objects, bang their head into walls, and the list goes on.
As parents/loved ones how can we help our children to learn appropriate behaviors to process and internalize their environment? I will share some exercises that have been recommended to me by therapists as well as activities that we have used ourselves and noticed an improvement.
Some of the first things to consider when working with the sensory & vestibular system is that people with functioning nervous systems know where their limbs and bodies are in space at all times. If I were to ask you right now where your foot is you can tell me without hesitation. As my therapists explained to me that a child without sensory input may lose the ability to know where he/she is in space and time. “The vestibular system plays an important part in our ability to interact with the environment. It tells us how and where we are moving, if we are moving up, down, fast, slow, angular or circular. Now think about times when you have been dizzy, and the whole room seems to be spinning – imagine that you are trying to negotiate a crowded hallway. You are not able to accurately perceive the information about your own movement. The receptors for the vestibular system are located in the inner ear, and are stimulated by movement of the head and input form the other senses. This system tells us where our body is in space. It lets us know the quality of our movements, and tells us if it’s our body or the environment that is moving.”
Depending on your child, you will need to determine if you need to apply calming or alerting activities to his daily activities. For my child he has problems staying motivated and on task unless someone is working with him one-on-one, therefore, I try to institute alerting activities. It stands to reason then if your child is hyperactive and cannot sit still then you would need to instigate calming activities.
*Sitting on a air cushion, therapy ball (or any plastic ball) to receive input during class activities
*take a break to do an errand for the teacher
*rolling slowly back and forth in a barrel
As I previously mentioned, I tried instituting some of these activities when my son was younger but did not notice any improvement. Please don’t be discouraged if your child is not ready for these exercises. The main point is to keep trying and find what works for your child!
Lately I been taking great interest in the study of changing your mindset from negative processing to spiritually uplifting scriptures and outlook on life. For many years I have had a pessimistic view and am now learning how all this plays a part in my health and functions in the body. We have been “fearfully and wonderfully made” from a loving Creator who knows how to keep us in tip top shape. Living in a world full of toxins, poisons and everything trying to make us sick and dying is it possible to change the learning of our loved ones who struggle with autism, ADHD etc.,?
Have you tried neurofeedback with your child and received good results?
Neurofeedback is very effective at stabilizing and regulating brain function, and it helps the brain change itself without medication. Improvements from neurofeedback extend beyond the training period, yielding sustainable results. Once a new brain pattern has been learned, the patient tends not to forget it just like we don’t usually forget how to ride a bike once that skill has been well-learned.
With medication, and even supplements, the benefits usually disappear when the treatment is stopped. Plus, unlike medication, neurofeedback does not have any long-term side effects. As an alternative to medications, neurofeedback can often help people reduce or eliminate drugs for autism and ASD as their brains become more stable.
Neurofeedback has been shown to help in alleviating many of the symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The first thing most parents notice is the calming effect of neurofeedback training. They consistently tell us that their children are able to manage their emotions better and do not get overwhelmed as easily.
Other changes parents observe include:
Initiation of touch and contact
Reduced emotional outbursts
Increased tolerance to change
Slower, clearer speech patterns
Better responses to parental and teacher instructions
Less ritualistic and more imaginative thought
Decreased hyperactivity and impulsivity, heightened levels of focus
Diminished anxiety, more stable and calm
Better social skills and enhanced relationships
Why Hasn’t Our Doctor Recommended It?
It’s true that many professionals aren’t aware how effective neurofeedback is for autism. Most healthcare professionals are busy with their own practices and don’t necessarily learn about modalities outside their scope of practice.
We encourage you to keep reading. Some of these case studies may interest you and provide signs of hope and improvement as you learn how other kids, parents, and families have benefited from neurofeedback.
Here is an example of an occupational therapist who referred an autistic boy to neurofeedback, and reported “the benefits outweighed any other therapies we’ve done”:
6-year-old, Autistic Boy Using Neurofeedback
Interview with Darlene, his mom who was referred for neurofeedback by his Occupational Therapist. She reports “the benefits outweighed any other therapies we’ve done.” She reported that he’s become more relaxed, more verbal. He’s more social, interacting with others in ways she never thought he could do. And more conversational. Created by EEGinfo.
How Long Do We Do Neurofeedback and How Much Does It Cost?
Every person’s situation is different, so it’s difficult to give an exact amount of sessions your child will require. When you call our clinic, we’ll schedule an initial appointment. We recommend you come in for an initial consultation and start with a few sessions. After a handful of sessions, we can assess any changes you notice and discuss if neurofeedback is a good fit for your family.
Please share your results and experiences; good and bad on this topic. I am interested in learning if skills and academic studies improved with this techniques. If adults can change their mindset and receive better living from it, it seems that a child should be able to do the same.
It is amazing to me how much the human body can endure and still work tirelessly to keep you alive and functioning as best as it can!!
For those who might be interested! Please check out this alphabet book.
Authored by Gavriela Powers
Authored with Dr. Chad Costantino
A is for Autism is a fun, easy-to-read booklet designed to help adults and children understand the rewards and challenges of Autism. Take a rhyming adventure through the alphabet and discover an awareness into a special world!
I am sharing this article because as a parent of a child with a nervous system dysfunction, I am guilty of using electronics to educate my child which in turn may be doing more harm than good? Please research, pray and study this for yourself…..
Susan* bought her 6-year-old son John an iPad when he was in first grade. “I thought, ‘Why not let him get a jump on things?’ ” she told me during a therapy session. John’s school had begun using the devices with younger and younger grades — and his technology teacher had raved about their educational benefits — so Susan wanted to do what was best for her sandy-haired boy who loved reading and playing baseball.
She started letting John play different educational games on his iPad. Eventually, he discovered Minecraft, which the technology teacher assured her was “just like electronic Lego.” Remembering how much fun she had as a child building and playing with the interlocking plastic blocks, Susan let her son Minecraft his afternoons away.
At first, Susan was quite pleased. John seemed engaged in creative play as he explored the cube-world of the game. She did notice that the game wasn’t quite like the Legos that she remembered — after all, she didn’t have to kill animals and find rare minerals to survive and get to the next level with her beloved old game. But John did seem to really like playing and the school even had a Minecraft club, so how bad could it be?
Still, Susan couldn’t deny she was seeing changes in John. He started getting more and more focused on his game and losing interest in baseball and reading while refusing to do his chores. Some mornings he would wake up and tell her that he could see the cube shapes in his dreams.
Although that concerned her, she thought her son might just be exhibiting an active imagination. As his behavior continued to deteriorate, she tried to take the game away but John threw temper tantrums. His outbursts were so severe that she gave in, still rationalizing to herself over and over again that “it’s educational.”
Then, one night, she realized that something was seriously wrong.
“I walked into his room to check on him. He was supposed to be sleeping — and I was just so frightened…”
We now know that those iPads, smartphones and Xboxes are a form of digital drug.
She found him sitting up in his bed staring wide-eyed, his bloodshot eyes looking into the distance as his glowing iPad lay next to him. He seemed to be in a trance. Beside herself with panic, Susan had to shake the boy repeatedly to snap him out of it. Distraught, she could not understand how her once-healthy and happy little boy had become so addicted to the game that he wound up in a catatonic stupor.
There’s a reason that the most tech-cautious parents are tech designers and engineers. Steve Jobs was a notoriously low-tech parent. Silicon Valley tech executives and engineers enroll their kids in no-tech Waldorf Schools. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page went to no-tech Montessori Schools, as did Amazon creator Jeff Bezos and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
Many parents intuitively understand that ubiquitous glowing screens are having a negative effect on kids. We see the aggressive temper tantrums when the devices are taken away and the wandering attention spans when children are not perpetually stimulated by their hyper-arousing devices. Worse, we see children who become bored, apathetic, uninteresting and uninterested when not plugged in.
But it’s even worse than we think.
We now know that those iPads, smartphones and Xboxes are a form of digital drug. Recent brain imaging research is showing that they affect the brain’s frontal cortex — which controls executive functioning, including impulse control — in exactly the same way that cocaine does. Technology is so hyper-arousing that it raises dopamine levels — the feel-good neurotransmitter most involved in the addiction dynamic — as much as sex.
This addictive effect is why Dr. Peter Whybrow, director of neuroscience at UCLA, calls screens “electronic cocaine” and Chinese researchers call them “digital heroin.” In fact, Dr. Andrew Doan, the head of addiction research for the Pentagon and the US Navy — who has been researching video game addiction — calls video games and screen technologies “digital pharmakeia” (Greek for drug).
That’s right — your kid’s brain on Minecraft looks like a brain on drugs. No wonder we have a hard time peeling kids from their screens and find our little ones agitated when their screen time is interrupted. In addition, hundreds of clinical studies show that screens increase depression, anxiety and aggression and can even lead to psychotic-like features where the video gamer loses touch with reality.
In my clinical work with over 1,000 teens over the past 15 years, I have found the old axiom of “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” to be especially true when it comes to tech addiction. Once a kid has crossed the line into true tech addiction, treatment can be very difficult. Indeed, I have found it easier to treat heroin and crystal meth addicts than lost-in-the-matrix video gamers or Facebook-dependent social media addicts.
That’s right — your kid’s brain on Minecraft looks like a brain on drugs.
According to a 2013 Policy Statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics, 8- to 10 year-olds spend 8 hours a day with various digital media while teenagers spend 11 hours in front of screens. One in three kids are using tablets or smartphones before they can talk. Meanwhile, the handbook of “Internet Addiction” by Dr. Kimberly Young states that 18 percent of college-age internet users in the US suffer from tech addiction.
Once a person crosses over the line into full-blown addiction — drug, digital or otherwise — they need to detox before any other kind of therapy can have any chance of being effective. With tech, that means a full digital detox — no computers, no smartphones, no tablets. The extreme digital detox even eliminates television. The prescribed amount of time is four to six weeks; that’s the amount of time that is usually required for a hyper-aroused nervous system to reset itself. But that’s no easy task in our current tech-filled society where screens are ubiquitous. A person can live without drugs or alcohol; with tech addiction, digital temptations are everywhere.
So how do we keep our children from crossing this line? It’s not easy.
The key is to prevent your 4-, 5- or 8-year-old from getting hooked on screens to begin with. That means Lego instead of Minecraft; books instead of iPads; nature and sports instead of TV. If you have to, demand that your child’s school not give them a tablet or Chromebook until they are at least 10 years old (others recommend 12).
Have honest discussions with your child about why you are limiting their screen access. Eat dinner with your children without any electronic devices at the table — just as Steve Jobs used to have tech-free dinners with his kids. Don’t fall victim to “Distracted Parent Syndrome” — as we know from Social Learning Theory, “Monkey see, monkey do.”
When I speak to my 9-year-old twin boys, I have honest conversations with them about why we don’t want them having tablets or playing video games. I explain to them that some kids like playing with their devices so much, they have a hard time stopping or controlling how much they play. I’ve helped them to understand that if they get caught up with screens and Minecraft like some of their friends have, other parts of their lives may suffer: They may not want to play baseball as much; not read books as often; be less interested in science and nature projects; become more disconnected from their real-world friends. Amazingly, they don’t need much convincing as they’ve seen first-hand the changes that some of their little friends have undergone as a result of their excessive screen time.
Developmental psychologists understand that children’s healthy development involves social interaction, creative imaginative play and an engagement with the real, natural world. Unfortunately, the immersive and addictive world of screens dampens and stunts those developmental processes.
We also know that kids are more prone to addictive escape if they feel alone, alienated, purposeless and bored. Thus the solution is often to help kids to connect to meaningful real-life experiences and flesh-and-blood relationships. The engaged child tethered to creative activities and connected to his or her family is less likely to escape into the digital fantasy world. Yet even if a child has the best and most loving support, he or she could fall into the Matrix once they engage with hypnotic screens and experience their addicting effect. After all, about one in 10 people are predisposed towards addictive tendencies.
In the end, my client Susan removed John’s tablet, but recovery was an uphill battle with many bumps and setbacks along the way.
Four years later, after much support and reinforcement, John is doing much better today. He has learned to use a desktop computer in a healthier way, and has gotten some sense of balance back in his life: He’s playing on a baseball team and has several close friends in his middle school. But his mother is still vigilant and remains a positive and proactive force with his tech usage because, as with any addiction, relapse can sneak up in moments of weakness. Making sure that he has healthy outlets, no computer in his bedroom and a nightly tech-free dinner at the dinner table are all part of the solution.
Currently, autism is diagnosed and treated based on information gathered from clinical assessments and parent questionnaires. ABC-CT will add to this pool of knowledge by developing a more objective battery of tools to measure social function. Using EEG to measure brain function, eye tracking technology to measure visual attention, and automated recording techniques to assess behavior and speech, children aged 4 to 11 will be monitored over a six-month period. In addition to the behavioral measures and biomarker data, this community resource will also include DNA samples from children with ASD and their parents for use in future genetic studies. The consortium will establish a technical and data infrastructure for reliably measuring social function, allowing the collaborating sites to work together as a single unit. The goal is to create a set of measures that can be used in clinical trials to determine which treatments are best for which patients and who will benefit from a particular treatment. The ultimate goal is to validate a set of tools that will enable clinicians to objectively measure and predict how children with ASD respond to treatment.
The Autism Biomarkers Consortium for Clinical Trials (ABC-CT) is seeking families to participate in a study to improve diagnosis and treatment in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We are currently recruiting both typically developing children and children with a diagnosis of ASD between the ages of 4 and 11 years old.
Researchers have developed a new method to map and track the function of brain circuits affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in boys using brain imaging. The technique will provide clinicians and therapists with a physical measure of the progress patients are making with behavioral and/or drug treatments — a tool that has been elusive in autism treatment until this point.
For the first time, doctors would be able to quantify how that brain circuit is working in their patients and assess the effectiveness of an intervention. The research is outlined in a paper, “Quantified Social Perception Circuit Activity as a Neurobiological Marker of Autism Spectrum Disorder,” published inJAMA Psychiatry. The paper focuses on the use of biomarkers, measurable indicators of a biological condition, to measure the function of the social perception circuit of the brain.
“This is significant because biomarkers give us a ‘why’ for understanding autism in boys that we haven’t had before,” said Kevin Pelphrey, a co-author of the paper, who is the Carbonell Family Professor in Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders and director of the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute at the George Washington University. “We can now use functional biomarkers to identify what treatments will be effective for individual cases and measure progress.”
Researchers analyzed a series of 164 images from each of 114 individuals and discovered the brain scans of the social perception circuits only indicated ASD in boys. This new research has the potential to improve treatment for ASD by measuring changes in the social perception brain circuit in response to different interventions. The researchers found the brain scan data can be an effective indicator of function of the circuit in younger children and older patients alike.
The research is particularly relevant for ASD patients who are difficult to diagnose and treat by providing a more definitive diagnosis and in developing a treatment program when it is not clear if behavioral, drug or a combination of the treatments will be most effective.
“The behavioral symptoms of ASD are so complex and varied it is difficult to determine whether a new treatment is effective, especially within a realistic time frame,” said Malin Björnsdotter, assistant professor at the University of Gothenburg and lead author of the paper. “Brain function markers may provide the specific and objective measures required to bridge this gap.”
A Path to Widespread use of Brain Scans?
In addition to helping to identify the most effective ASD treatment for an individual, this research provides evidence that brain imaging is an important intervention tool. Currently, functional MRI, the type of brain scan used in this study, is not a standard part of ASD treatment, as there is not enough evidence linking the scan to effective treatments. The Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute at GW aims to make significant contributions toward the establishment of evidence-based therapies for ASD.
“This kind of imaging can help us answer the question, ‘On day one of treatment, will this child benefit from a 16-week behavioral intervention?'” Dr. Pelphrey said. “Answering that question will help parents save time and money on diagnosis and treatments.”
Following the study, Dr. Pelphrey and his colleagues will test their findings at the next level: studying a larger pool of people with autism and other neurological disorders in collaboration with Children’s National Medical Center to see if the scan can successfully distinguish ASD from other disorders and track treatment progress.
The authors emphasized that this research is still in the earliest days, pointing out that doctors’ offices and most hospitals do not have the specialized imaging equipment necessary to carry out the brain scans used by the team involved in this study.
“To really help patients we need to develop inexpensive, easy-to-use techniques that can be applied in any group, including infants and individuals with severe behavioral problems,” said Dr. Björnsdotter. “This study is a first step toward that goal.”
While this method currently only works for boys with autism, the researchers are leading a large-scale, nationwide study of girls with autism to identify equivalent techniques that will work for them. The group expects to have the initial results from that study later this year.
Here is a plan for a gentle vaccine detox. Many of us know how much a simple vaccine can cause damage to your health and body!
“Regardless of what your stance on vaccines is, you should know that the ingredients in vaccines are toxic to the human body. Vaccine ingredients include: sucrose, fructose, dextrose, potassium phosphate, aluminum potassium sulfate, peptone, bovine extract, formaldehyde,FD&C Yellow #6, aluminum lake dye, fetal bovine serum, sodium bicarbonate, monosodium glutamate, aluminum hydroxide, benzethonium chloride, lactose thimerosal, ammonium sulfate, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, bovine extract), calf serum, aluminum phosphate, aluminum hydroxphosphate sulfate, and ethanol. Unfortunately, most of these ingredients accumulate in our bodies and will not leave the body without assistance.
A Gentle Vaccine Detox For Children and Adults
Here are some gentle detox ideas to help your body detoxify from heavy metals and other vaccine toxins and recover your health.
A detox bath helps strengthen the immune system and flush out toxins that have built up in our body.
Add 6 drops of Zendocrine to your child’s bath with a few pinches of Epsom salt.
This powerful blend combines Rosemary, Cilantro, and Juniper Berry, known for their detoxifying properties and ability to support healthy liver function, while Tangerine and Geranium have purifying effects against unhealthy substances.
After eating a crushed clove of garlic, a chain of metabolic events results in the release of allicin in the small intestine. Allicin eliminates pathogens, while leaving the beneficial bacteria alone. Allicin, provides the primary healing aspects of garlic. It also binds heavy metals and helps us todetox. It’s best effects come from eating 3 or more cloves each day.
Silicic acid is an antidote for aluminum poisoning and silica as a detox agent for heavy metals.When a person consumes silica, the aluminum and the other heavy metals present in the body are passed in the urine and eliminated with it.
Horsetail is a great and inexpensive herbal source of silica. Additionally, foods that help keep your silica levels high are: Unrefined whole grains such as rye, barley, oats, and wheat. Alfalfa sprouts nuts, and other seeds will boost your silica levels and let you experience silica health benefits.
According to several strong scientific studies, chlorella helps support healthy detoxification of heavy metals from the body because it naturally binds to heavy metals which are carried out of the body through natural processes of elimination. You can take chlorella in capsule form, or just add it to smoothies.
Since heavy metals and other toxins tend to alter bacterial balance within the gut, supplementing with probiotic-rich foods such as organic yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, fermented vegetables is very important for detoxing and protecting against the harmful effects of vaccines.
Omega 3 Cod Liver Oil
Omega 3 fatty acids also block excitoxins while repairing cellular damage. I give my child one teaspoon of the Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil daily, which needs to be refrigerated and used quickly in order to maintain its optimal capacity to help the body.
Cilantro binds to heavy metals, pulling them from blood and body tissues, and eliminates them from the body. It is one of the most effective and gentle detoxifiers of heavy metals and other toxic contaminants. It is excellent for extracting mercury from your body’s organs. This herb is believed to cross the blood-brain barrier and remove heavy metals from the brain.
You can juice with cilantro, add it to your smoothies, or eat it raw. Consume at least 1 teaspoon daily for 2-3 weeks or add 6-7 drops cilantro essential oil to your bath.”